Monday, 11 April 2011

The world is made of glass

In the midst of the rejections, which I've entertained you with before it's nice to get the occasional 'Yes!'

Thanks to the magic of spreadsheets, I can reliably tell you that of 400 poetry submissions I've sent, 57 were published, and of 346 entries to poetry competitions, 17 were placed. It's a slog, and these figures are comparatively good, I'm told. *sigh*

I've just had a poem published in this year's Ragged Raven Anthology: Nothing Left to Burn - the fourth time I've been selected for one their excellent collections. I was especially chuffed that they even named last year's anthology after my poem - which was runner up in their competition: The world is made of glass.

The world is made of glass

each blade of grass
hand-blown and fragile,
as bright as needles.

You order coffee here and stare
into something solid and opaque –
one sugar cube suspended

perfectly. See the craftsman’s skill:
nothing solid exactly, but moving
with the patience of glaciers.

All things, even your lover’s face,
reflect an image of yourself, slightly distorted.
The touch of skin’s as sharp

as those mornings when buildings
look like clouds and birds fly into them,
shatter their skulls and drop like stones.

Rain falls in slivers, lies
like mirrors at your feet. You feel
your way – afraid of fractures,

everything splintering. Beneath
leaded sheets your brittle sweat
rolls and dances like beads

from a broken string, night hardens you
into a sculpture, your arteries a marbling
only visible in certain lights.

© Clare Kirwan

p.s. did you notice I wrote an entire poem about glass without once using the overly-poetic word 'shards'? My A problem shard post explains why.


  1. errrr.. I'd call you mega talented with those results :-)

  2. And it can be melted down, blown and molded into poems.

    I would be happy with those numbers.

  3. I was tempted to quote back a favourite line, here. But, as one runs into the next, I'd be reading you the entire poem.

  4. Clare (and Gary... who would call me 'woof') - but it's a lot of 'no's to contend with, that's the point, a lot of effort. 8-(

    Mark - That's really encouraging, thanks. 8-)

    Martin - And I've already heard it!

    Dave - Yes, actually... Ramipril and Amlopidine. D'you think they'll stop my arteries marbling? 8-)

  5. You is a proper poet with a well good way with words.

  6. Wow, I wouldn't be sighing over that level of publication - I would be chuffed to bits.

    Although I don't understand poetry one bit, your poem did sound very poetic. I reckon you are a swot!

  7. Gorgeous poem! I'm with Martin H. on lines to quote, and having some experience with those spreadsheets, I do agree, your numbers are excellent--but also QUITE understand the aggravation. You write really good stuff, and I suspect, given your own inner critic, that everything you decide is worth putting out there ought to be published.

  8. Fran - fanx!

    Annie - I AM chuffed, but I also wonder if it's worth the effort! This one does lean towards the 'poetic' - although in my favour I did manage to write an entire pome about glass without using the overly-poetic word "shards"! 8-p (I should have mentioned that in the post... will add it now!)

    Rainy - Thanks for understanding. Fortunately I also do annual stats and percentages (NOW I'm a swot!)and at least the figures are gradually improving over the years. Maybe if we specnt less time doing the spreadsheets we'd get more stuff out, eh? 8-)